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  1. #1
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    Photography How-to

    How do you get the high-contrast white backgrounds in your photos stick? Always looks great, but I'm not sure how your doing it. I was playing with Photoshop the other day and couldn't quite get my pictures to come out the way I had hoped. Do you have a specific application recommendation?

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    It's not so much the application as it is controlling your lighting during the taking of the shot. You need to soften and even out the lighting. If you don't do this first, no software in the world can make the picture look the way you want.

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    Mute is absolutely correct. Controlling your light is what makes great images. Strive to get the image correct in the camera. Photoshop and post-processing is to fix minor imperfections, not to create a miracle. Play with your lighting and always look for new techniques. Try to make your images stand out from what everyone else is doing. There are a ton of tutorials out there in how-to photography and there are a lot of DIY projects that you can do to recreate lighting w/o spending a million bucks.
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    Agreed, great lighting can save a LOT of images. I've just started to really play with long exposures lately, and you can get a LOT of great detail by just making a good composition and screwing around with a few lights.
    "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

  5. #5
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    I would imagine they are using a light box which provides consistent and well understood lighting conditions, they really help for product shots where detail is critical.

    I'm primarily a sport shooter and don't have the gear for product photography. I'll use a good tripod



    and I'll let the camera and metering do the work since I'll be shooting at higher apertures trying to increase depth of field.

    A good lens like a Nikon 60mm macro lens also helps, I don't shoot nikon anymore so I just use my trusty 28-70 Lseries 2.8.

    Shooting sports is quite different than product since things are moving quickly and you are trying to stop the action and create some pop so you are usually shooting pretty wide open.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanm View Post
    How do you get the high-contrast white backgrounds in your photos stick? Always looks great, but I'm not sure how your doing it. I was playing with Photoshop the other day and couldn't quite get my pictures to come out the way I had hoped. Do you have a specific application recommendation?

    Cheers!
    I tend to over or underexpose for my shots as needed. The easiest way to shoot a white background is to put down something white (paper, tablecloth, your wifes wedding dress etc.). Put it in shade, then take your picture. You will have to play around with the exposure, but raise it a bit, and see how you like it. If you need more white, and less gray, overexpose by a little more. The shade will provide a softer, more even light, and its a very easy way to shoot your pictures.

    By doing this, you won't need to do much work in post processing, if anything at all. I know there are guys who cut out backgrounds and do lots of other work in photoshop, but since I am horrible at photoshop, I need to get the results I want in the camera.


    There are lots of other ways to shoot on a white background, but the above is what I've found to be the easiest, and quickest.



    Note that I didn't say exactly how much to alter the exposure, that because it is going to depend on a few different variables. Play around, and see what you like. Its digital, so shoot a bunch and see what you like best.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickman View Post
    I tend to over or underexpose for my shots as needed. The easiest way to shoot a white background is to put down something white (paper, tablecloth, your wifes discount wedding dresses etc.). Put it in shade, then take your picture. You will have to play around with the exposure, but raise it a bit, and see how you like it. If you need more white, and less gray, overexpose by a little more. The shade will provide a softer, more even light, and its a very easy way to shoot your pictures.

    By doing this, you won't need to do much work in post processing, if anything at all. I know there are guys who cut out backgrounds and do lots of other work in photoshop, but since I am horrible at photoshop, I need to get the results I want in the camera.


    There are lots of other ways to shoot on a white background, but the above is what I've found to be the easiest, and quickest.



    Note that I didn't say exactly how much to alter the exposure, that because it is going to depend on a few different variables. Play around, and see what you like. Its digital, so shoot a bunch and see what you like best.
    I really liked your idea of white background with some white paper. I am new in photography so its lots to learn. Sorry for old thread reply and thanks for nice thought:)
    Last edited by WallaceLambert; 12 June 2013 at 03:43.

  8. #8
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    wife's wedding dress, let me think about that. I wish I could take damn nice pictures like stick or borrow his camera.

  9. #9
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    as I want to take my nikon d40 along on a hiking trip to canada, I'd like to ask you guys, what kind of pouc/bag youd take along that is not to bulky, yet provides enouh protection from the elements?

    thanks!

  10. #10
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    Venom, camera bags are a lot like gun bags in that the most easily accessed are not typically the most secure. Are you looking for something to carry on you that you can "quick draw" from, or are you going to be carrying thee camera on a strap during the day and are only looking for a bag to secure it when traveling to/from the hike?
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  11. #11
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    actually I think I want something that keeps the cam safe from rain and impact, and the whole thing will be under the top lid of my pack. I think I wont need the quick draw, I'll probably stop, remove cam, take pic, put back and carry on hiking.

  12. #12
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    I built a light box "on the cheap" using 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe and clamp lights from Home Depot.

    For the bulbs I use 100 watt Daylight rated spiral florescent. The daylight rating is important, it gives a white light (5000 to 6200 kelvin) as opposed to the yellow of incandescent bulbs or bluish tint of normal florescent.

    Using the PVC allowed me to create an expandable light box - a picture below shows the frame set up for smaller items. When expanded for rifle sized items I place it on a 6 foot folding table and use more lights. A little effort before you push the button will pay off in reduced post processing time.

    I went to a fabric shop with my wife and purchased some rolls of fabric for backdrops, you will need full width rolled fabric about 3 yards or so in length - peanuts on cost; mine ran from $1.99 per yard to $3.99 per yard. Have them roll it, not cut and fold. The creases and wrinkles will show. Re-roll it and bag it after use. Pick some neutral or soft background colors, and maybe a bright one for special things you may want to photograph. I have white, gray, red, green and black. Stay away from satins or shiny fabrics. On rolls they can also be hung behind someone for use as a portrait backdrop.

    At a minimum you will need a relatively sheer white roll to drape the top and sides - always do that to mute or soften the light. You would lay the colored fabric on the inside of the light box as background - or just use the white.

    Venom, I use a Tamrac sling pack - medium to large. I can swing it around, pull the camera and or different lens, take the picture and put it back. Seems to work okay for me.

    Hope this helped.



    You can even take pictures of cameras:

    Last edited by Jerry R; 20 June 2009 at 11:25.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry R View Post
    I built a light box "on the cheap" using 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe and clamp lights from Home Depot.

    For the bulbs I use 100 watt Daylight rated spiral florescent. The daylight rating is important, it gives a white light (5000 to 6200 kelvin) as opposed to the yellow of incandescent bulbs or bluish tint of normal florescent.

    Using the PVC allowed me to create an expandable light box - a picture below shows the frame set up for smaller items. When expanded for rifle sized items I place it on a 6 foot folding table and use more lights. A little effort before you push the button will pay off in reduced post processing time.

    I went to a fabric shop with my wife and purchased some rolls of fabric for backdrops, you will need full width rolled fabric about 3 yards or so in length - peanuts on cost; mine ran from $1.99 per yard to $3.99 per yard. Have them roll it, not cut and fold. The creases and wrinkles will show. Re-roll it and bag it after use. Pick some neutral or soft background colors, and maybe a bright one for special things you may want to photograph. I have white, gray, red, green and black. Stay away from satins or shiny fabrics. On rolls they can also be hung behind someone for use as a portrait backdrop.

    At a minimum you will need a relatively sheer white roll to drape the top and sides - always do that to mute or soften the light. You would lay the colored fabric on the inside of the light box as background - or just use the white.

    Venom, I use a Tamrac sling pack - medium to large. I can swing it around, pull the camera and or different lens, take the picture and put it back. Seems to work okay for me.

    Hope this helped.



    You can even take pictures of cameras:

    hey whats that little round blue and yellow thing that says 100hc in front of the camera????

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorolahamm View Post
    hey whats that little round blue and yellow thing that says 100hc in front of the camera????
    That's the "memory stick".

  15. #15
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    I'm thinking that I might be better off buying a thin sheet of plywood and leaving it outdoors to get that grey weathered look as it might cause me less contrast issues with the dark gun(s)?
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